Tag Archives: Maine

As they used to say on Futurama: Good news, good news everyone

Greetings, readers. The novel based on my play, Four’s a Crowd by Darren Taylor, went live for sale on Amazon.com this past Saturday. It took a few days for them to finalize something, I don’t know what it was, but now copies can be purchased by anybody. I ordered two copies for myself, and they were shipped late yesterday afternoon. I’m going to talk to a friend of mine who owns a local bookstore and see if she will take three or four copies on consignment. I think she will. She took copies of my three books, Picking Up Where We Left Off: My Bear Spring Camps Stories, Tales from North Bay & Beyond: More Bear Spring Camps Stories, and Greetings, Readers: A Year in the Life of a New Blogger, so it stands to reason she will take this book too.

I can’t believe it is late June already and my trip to Bear Spring Camps is a little over a month away. Time is flying. From what I am seeing on people’s Facebook posts, the weather and the fishing have been good. Two big thumbs up for that. I’ve made all my preparations, I’ve booked the hotel rooms and rental car for the trip up and back. The only thing left to do it wash clothes, pack, and find all the electronic gadgets and equipment that I wish to take with me. I am ahead of schedule from last year. I’ll need to get out the old checklist and update it. I’ll also need to find a few things, like my fishing rod which I did not put it back in its usual spot. Not to worry, for as my mom used to say, there is always Wal-Mart, and a half-decent Zebco rod can be purchased for around $20.

I’ll be bunking overnight in Portland Maine this year, in a Motel 6. I’m very excited to be staying by Casco Bay. I tell you, if I ever move away from State College, it would be to Portland, Maine. I would get season tickets to the Portland Sea Dogs and would be that much closer to Bear Spring Camps for summer vacation.

On to a different topic, her royal highness, Princess Josie, the kitten, has been terrorizing my furniture and my legs with her sharp claws. Thank goodness I am taking her for her first check up on July 6th. A good nail clipping is first on the list. I don’t think she will need any shots, but since I took over ownership from someone else, I think I will check with that person to make certain. Josie has been acting like a young kitten recently, being rambunctious and spending quite a while in the penalty box, stretched out and sleeping on her towel. I also give her treats if she goes in by herself. I would love that to happen more often. Ha, ha, ha.

Lastly, I survived the hottest day of the year a few days go, with temperatures near 90 degrees F and high humidity. Although I will take it over freezing to death any day, it was quite a large temperature hike in a 24 hour period. My body did not like it. I dragged that day and went to bed early that evening.

Tomorrow’s blog entry is going to be an update on my writing projects this summer. It is not going as well as I hoped, but I still have some time to get those creative juices flowing. More details tomorrow. So until then, take care, have a great day, and as always, happy reading.

Advertisements

Easing into my summer schedule and other tidbits

Greetings, readers. Hello from central Pennsylvania on a gorgeous spring day. There is nary a cloud in the sky and today’s high temperature is expected to be in the upper 70s F. I’ll take it. I got through my graduation weekend work shifts and now I’m off for summer. My feet are already saying thank you.

Even though I have several errands to do this week, I am weaving in my brand new summer schedule. I have my new wake up time, my time for errands, and time for writing. It just so happens that this particular week all my errands are during writing time hours. Most of these errands must get done, so until tomorrow afternoon after my dentist appointment, I’m going with a revised version of said summer schedule.

The next few weeks are going to be quite busy. On days Rebecca and I work together, I will be making plans and preparations for this year’s voyage to Maine. I always try to call ahead early to make my reservations at hotels for the trip up and back. One year I could not stay in Waterville, Maine because there was a big conference in Augusta. All the hotel rooms were taken. I think the closest I could get was just outside Augusta. I remember last year the hotel I stayed at would not accept cash. How odd, I thought. This world is really truly going plastic. I had to drive to a Wal-Mart, put my money on a Wal-Mart gift card, and use it at the hotel, which accepted it as payment. The joys of travel.

Besides making the hotel reservations, quite soon I have to procure the rental car. There is some doubt as to whether I’ll be able to get one this year, so right after this blog entry is posted, I’m going to call and find out exactly what is needed.

On to other news. Princess Josie is adjusting to her new home and has really taken over the place. She is a rambunctious little thing and full of energy. She is learning to jump. This morning I came out of the bathroom and startled her so badly she jumped halfway up the door jamb and grabbed on with all fours. I’ve never seen a cat do that, ever. She’s a strong kitten.

Before closing, I wish to offer prayers and condolences to all those in Hawaii who had their lives altered so badly by the lava flow. I always feel terrible when tragic events like this take place in the world. This planet is not stable by any stretch of the imagination and catastrophes are bound to happen from time to time.

Tomorrow I have a morning appointment with the dentist, so Rebecca will be putting up the blog entry. The two of us will be back hard at it next Wednesday. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.

A small apology and top ten list of my summer plans

Greetings, readers. Before we begin the top ten list for today, I must apologize for not having the short story ready that I mentioned in yesterday’s entry. I wanted to use my voice recognition program while I sat at the computer with my coffee and breakfast. Wouldn’t you know, my back decided to choose this morning to go out. Back to bed I had to go with all lights off. What a pain in the grass. I’ll definitely try to post the short story either over the weekend or next Wednesday.

Now for the top ten list of things I’m going to do this summer. As I mentioned before, I have been granted the three months off from my fast food job beginning right after the Penn State graduation weekend. These are the things I am going to try very hard to accomplish before the end of August. Here we go.

#10. Take walks and get in better shape. [Even though I am not overweight, I have been having heart problems, and more exercise in the fresh air is always good for everybody. I think I can handle two loops around the block.]

#9. Not watch as much TV or YouTube videos. [When I’m in Maine, I do not have a TV. I’m very limited to my entertainment and I actually like it that way. I think for the summer, I’m going to imagine that I am in a woodland cabin by the lake. I think that will reduce stress and allow me to do a lot of writing.]

#8. Clean out my walk-in hall closet. [I’m going to need some help for this one, but I know where I can get it. This poor walk-in closet is my third, fourth, and fifth room. I’ll leave how much stuff is in it to your imagination. Lots of stuff I have in there I wish to keep, unfortunately not all of it is going to make the cut. I must trim it down by half.]

#7. Take back my bedroom. [Oh, dear readers, I’ve been trying to do this one for years. I take three steps forward, and slide five steps back. Keeping it nice is a never-ending process. With time off from my fast food job though, and with family coming in June, I should have plenty of time and motivation to get it at least company acceptable.]

#6. Eat better. [I found a couple of places within walking distance that serves healthy food. There is a Chinese restaurant close to where I live, and I think that all those vegetables can give me all the vitamins and minerals I am lacking. Also, The Corner Room at the bottom of the hill serves complete dinners. Man cannot live by ice cream and blueberry muffins alone. Lol.]

#5. Write short stories. [As mentioned yesterday, I have several story ideas on all four burners. I just need to turn up the heat and get them cooking. Again, the proper amount of uninterrupted time and relaxed atmosphere should do the trick in providing a writing frame of mind. The voice recognition program will help a lot too.]

#4. Train the new kitty. [This one goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. Tomorrow a new chapter of my life begins as kitty cat Princess Josie comes home. Of course KeeKee will always be remembered and loved, but I need a new support animal, and I think P.J. will fit the bill just fine. Of course, I’ll have to show her where the litter box is and teach her what she can and cannot scratch. Everything I don’t want chewed my first day out of the apartment will have to be put in the bedroom with the door closed.]

#3. Rest my feet and knees. [As I’ve told my co-workers, I’m not trying to be a wimp here, but I think these three months off will do wonders for my feet and knees. I’ll gladly trade-off a sore behind if it means plenty of pages written.]

#2. Get Four’s a Crowd published and selling. [This is a project that has been going on for several years and we are one proof away, I think, from having it ready to click for sale on CreateSpace.com. We have to find a way to publicize it though, I don’t want this new book to falter and drown likeĀ my books have.]

#1. Go to Maine. [I am reserved my cabin and am obviously planning to go to Bear Spring Camps again this summer. My week away from central Pennsylvania will recharge my batteries and get me ready for another year. It always seems to do that.]

Well there you have it, the top ten list of things I will do this summer. I’d like to thank everybody for the 21 views of yesterday’s post. Very encouraging. I hope you all continue to enjoy the blog. Until next week, I bid you a wonderful weekend, take care, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Joe’s kitty cat Keekee passed away today

Greetings, readers. Keekee passed away this afternoon at 2:10. Joe will probably post a blog entry about this soon with his feelings and thoughts. I wanted to put up an entry with the news and a few photos of her today. She had cancer, and Joe didn’t want her to be in pain or suffer. She was at the vet’s for two nights and then today they put her to sleep. Joe was with her.

I am feeling sad, of course. I’m used to seeing Keekee every week when I go to work with Joe in his office/apartment. She was usually quiet while we worked, though every once in a while she would want all the attention in the room on her. I haven’t thought about it lately because it has been a long time since she did it, but once in a while she used to just zoom from one end of the room to another and we never knew what set her off. All work would stop for a few minutes until she calmed down again. A lot of times she would curl up on his lap when he dictated the blog entry, and then jump up ready to eat when he asked if she was ready for dinner.

Those of you who are long-term readers of this blog know that Joe goes to Bear Spring Camps in Maine every August and that while he was away for that week and a half, I would take care of Keekee. I made sure her water bowl had enough water, that her dry food was full, that she got half a can of moist food, and kept her company for a few hours. I would post entries about how she was doing and how much she was shedding (she shed so much when Joe was away!) By the end of the first week he was gone, she would want to be pet a lot. It was actually the only time I would pet her so much and for so long in one sitting.

I promised photos and here they are. I will miss Keekee very much.

 

 

 

 

From Rebecca: Yes, another one from me

As Joe wrote yesterday, he has a follow-up doctor’s appointment for the foot he hurt in a fall last week, so I am bringing you today’s blog post. It seems like I have been doing this a lot in the last couple of months, for one reason or another, starting with Joe’s annual trip to Bear Spring Camps in Maine and then both of us have had some personal appointments on Thursdays. I like writing here, but I am aware that regular readers probably come for Joe’s unique voice and what he shares on this blog page.

Those of you who are long-time readers know that this is not our normal pattern, we usually go a month or so between From Rebecca posts, and Joe does both the entries each week. Life is hectic for us right now, and Joe’s job at a fast food restaurant has pulled a lot of his energy and time, but I do expect us to go back to the normal writing schedule soon.

I first met Joe in high school and we remained friends since then. I became his writing assistant in 2010, mainly to type for him as his cerebral palsy makes it slow and difficult for him to do that task for his writing work. He started this blog in December of 2011, with him dictating, me typing, and both of us editing. We have a good system down that we have used to put at least one new blog entry on this site every week for almost six years. I am very proud of that, and I know that Joe is too. When I post this entry, if will be the 654th one on this blog site.

We see from this site’s statistics that daily views are steadily getting higher. Joe has big spikes in views once in a while, usually when he writes something about Bear Spring Camps and links it to their Facebook page, but it looks like some people are staying around after the surges. To all of you who are long-term readers, thank you so much, we really appreciate you coming here so long. To all of you who are newer readers, welcome, and we hope you enjoy the voice and topics so much that you stick around.

Joe will be back next week, and as far as we know now, he will do the blog entry for both Wednesday and Thursday. As he would say, until then, have a good weekend, take care, and happy reading.

Bear Spring Camps 2017 was a smashing success

Greetings, readers. I am back from Bear Spring Camps and ready to begin work again. I am feeling energized with many ideas for blog entries and personal writing projects. I sat in my cabin every evening listening to the crickets and the loons while I was deep in thought reflecting on the year to come.

First of all let me tell you about my rental car. OMG! The 2017 Hyundai Tucson is that company’s small SUV. It had adequate space, more than enough power and every gadget and readout known to man. With cruise control on the interstates it averaged 31.5 miles per gallon. Not too shabby. Along with the GPS unit I purchased, I was easily able to go on my side trips. I stopped at Portland, Maine on the way up and on the way back, and even spent an hour at Hampton Beach in New Hampshire. I used my computer’s webcam to take a few snapshots. Only one turned out very well and I put it up on Facebook.

I used the computer’s webcam to take this photo. I think it really well.

As Rebecca said in her blog entry a couple of weeks ago, I got a late start the Thursday morning I left for camp and was only about 30 miles down the highway at lunchtime. I stopped at the Flying J truck stop for lunch, over ate, and then had to blare music and freeze myself with air conditioning just to stay awake. The Hyundai had Sirius XM radio, which I took advantage of quite a bit. Did I love that car? I put 1,455 miles on it. That should answer the question. I always tell myself I will drive back to Maine during the year but that never seems to happen, nor do I think it will this year. I will have to return to using Zipcars for my driving around town.

Driving down the lane to my cabin for the first time brought back all the wonderful memories of years gone by. I felt Mom with me in the car and in the cabin many times. I had a nice surprise; the tree in front of my front porch was trimmed back a bit, giving me a better view of the lake.

It rained a bit more than usual. When it was raining, I had to go inside and close the door. At night time I don’t mind that. During the day there is not much to do. I tried a couple of times on rainy afternoons to connect to the Dunkin’ Donuts internet in Waterville and I am sorry to say I didn’t have much success. I always got coffee and a doughnut. Not much changed in Waterville or Belgrade Lakes, but not much ever does.

I went early morning fishing just once and it was a truly magical experience. For a short time we were fog bound, then it lifted to be a gorgeous morning. The lake’s water level was higher than it has been in a number of years. That was good for people with pontoon boats like me. I’m already signed up for next year and am eagerly awaiting August 4th.

I had one disposable camera and I think that 25 out of the 27 shots will be good ones. On two occasions the camera was slipping out of my hand when I heard the click, so I will have a beautiful blurry shot of a boat seat and another of my foot. Better to do that then drop the camera and lose all my pictures.

When I came home Sunday afternoon, Keekee was beside herself. She meowed, jumped on me and nuzzled, wanted food and lots of loving. She is a happy kitty cat once again. I am sure her extra affectionate mood will calm down when she realizes that I will not be going anywhere else again soon.

How would I rate this trip? Family and friends: 10 out of 10; the weather: only 7 out of 10 [more rain than usual]; fishing: 8 out of 10 [usual for me, fantastic for others. Both Dave and his nephew Cole caught pickerel and pike.] Food; 10 out of 10 as usual. For an overall score of 8.75 out of 10.

There is a summary of this year’s Maine voyage. As much as I loved being there, it is good to be back so we can get to work. Until tomorrow, take care, have a wonderful day, and happy reading.

I am further ahead on packing at this point than I was last year

Greetings, readers. I am still here today, and to my surprise I have time to dictate a short blog entry. I am going down a list of activities to get ready to leave for camp. I have a lot of items checked off already, like laundry done, packing things like my GPS, and double checking on my rental car so there will be no surprises when I pick it up. I want so much to be organized and on top of details like my mom was, and Rebecca thinks I am doing a great job.

Last year, as I recall, I was frantically doing a load of laundry the morning I was to leave. To some people, that might sound perfectly fine, but I like to have the car packed and ready to go early in the morning. That way, I can grab a quick breakfast and get on my way whenever I am ready. Most people, when they travel, don’t have a specific departure time, but my mother always tried to leave at 10:00 in the morning. Through trial and error, she found out that it put us in Connecticut – our evening stop – late in the afternoon and just before she got overly tired. This is a timetable that works for me too.

The last couple of years when I drove to Maine, I found out that I have to take more frequent breaks, but I still hope to arrive in Southington, Connecticut before dark. That is my goal, because my nighttime driving vision is not what it once was.

I have to make certain that Keekee is well taken care of in between Rebecca’s almost daily visits. That means cleaning out the litter box, making sure her water bowl is full, stocking up the dry food in her gravity feeder, etc. I think Keekee already knows that daddy is going away. She is very clingy towards me today and keeps meowing at me as I dictate this entry.

On the way up I will be stopping at Portland and visited Hadlock Field and purchasing some Sea Dogs souvenirs. Right after this blog entry is over, Rebecca will have the pleasure of watching me plow through the clutter on Dead Red to find the last year’s purchased Sea Dogs hoodies. I don’t want to have to purchase them again.

Rebecca will be doing the next three entries and then I will be back. That will wrap this short entry up for today. Please wish me a safe journey and a happy vacation. As a lot of you know, I look forward to Bear Spring Camps every year.

Until soonest, take care, have a great two weeks, and happy reading.

My last blog entry until I get back from camp

Greetings, readers. I am dictating the last blog of my year, I measure a year from vacation to vacation, as I sip a Coors Light. I spent most of the morning doing loads of laundry which will be packed in a day or two. I’m trying desperately to keep up with my tasks so I don’t get behind on what I need to do. A week from today I will be leaving and trust me, this week is going to go fast. Between having Rebecca here for two days of work next week and four work shifts at my fast food job, I’m not going to have a lot of time to do other things. My feet will be hurting and I will be quite tired. Rest and sleep will be #1 priorities on the down-time list.

For those of you who read yesterday’s blog – great view numbers by the way – I did locate my Take-to-Maine list and have begun to set a few things aside. I’ve also been in contact with my employer to make certain of what days and hours I work. I may need to ask off for the day before I leave; things might get too hectic around here.

What else is news with me? Well, I’ll share something with you. I am a huge fan of On Golden Pond. I had an idea for a sequel and wrote to one of the movie’s co-stars to test the waters of interest. To my happy surprise, Doug McKeon (young Billy Ray) wrote back to me. He told me that Ernest Thompson, who wrote the play, would have to be contacted before any work could be produced from my project. Even if I could not get permission from Mr. Thompson to use his characters, I still might work on the project just for fun and practice anyway when I get home. You never know what it might lead to.

I know I talk about the weather a lot, but after two beautifully cooler days, the humidity is back and it is forecast to rain in the early evening. I’ll have to bring my hoodie with me to work because I don’t want to stand at the bus stop this evening and wait unprotected. I certainly don’t want to get a cold right before vacation. That would be dreadful. My work shift today is 3pm to 8pm. I do love my job but believe me at the end of the shift my feet are ready to go home and be put up.

There is a little bit of a lull in town now, in between the arts festivals and the beginning of the college football season which begins in late August. If my sources are correct, the first four out of five games are at home. That is where I will be able to see if I am cut out to work the register at my job.

Next Wednesday I will be here but I will be doing last-minute chores. The blog will be written by Rebecca and if I’m here at the appropriate time, I will help edit it. I would like to take this opportunity right now to once again thank all of my readers for reading me and enjoying my blog over the past year. Trust me, this ride is nowhere near over.

Until soonest, take care, have a great couple of weeks, and happy reading.

Last minute chores to do before leaving for Maine

Greetings, readers. Yes, it’s that time of year again. I can’t believe that another early August has rolled around. Time flies and I always find myself behind the eight ball completing my last-minute chores. The panic and rush-rush will all be worth it though in ten days, when I’ll be relaxing on my cabin’s porch.

The first thing I must do is fire up the old laptop and transfer the ‘take to camp’ list I made years ago. I update it every year, taking off items that aren’t used. It is really a big help to me, keeping me organized during this hectic week before I pull out.

It goes without saying that I also must do multiple loads of laundry. With only one washer and dryer on my floor of the apartment building, I try to choose a day and begin my washing chore when the room opens at 8:00 in the morning.

Lastly, I am drawn to follow my mom’s example to double-check my reservations for the motels and the rental car. I’m very glad I called the rental car agency this morning because there was a snafu. The gentleman I talked to on June 1st never put my car reservation in the computer system. That would have been loads of fun if I had walked over to get the car and there wasn’t one the day before I wanted to leave. This minor fiasco makes me want to double-check my motel reservations. It might sound easy and straight forward, but to me, I learned from my mom years ago to never leave any details of the preparations to chance.

Rebecca and I will be working tomorrow and then I’ll be done for two weeks. As Rebecca stated last week, she will take over in my absence and I have no doubt that she will give you something interesting to read while I’m gone. She always does.

So until tomorrow, take care, have a great day, and happy reading.

From Rebecca: Paperwork and clutter

Medical organizations really love to send paper, don’t they? I like having information sent to me in the mail so I can hold it in my hands and have it for future reference. But I don’t need three copies. Well, maybe there is something different and new for each mailing, but it adds up. Joe gets a lot of paper from insurance, doctors, bills, with many explanation-of-benefits notices. One of the things I will be doing while he is in Maine will be to go through the giant stack of paperwork and organizing it. I will shred some of it, like notices for appointments that have passed, and putting the rest in folders where they belong. I do this every year, and then spend the next twelve months shoving it in a bag or binder. Well, some things get filed or disposed of during the year – Joe never keeps junk mail – but there is so much that I find myself putting all the medical papers in one bag and personal paper like rent receipts in another bag to be sorted later. Later turns out to be every August.

Joe struggles with clutter too, as regular readers know. Stuff gets piled up and then every other week or so he will get on a tear to throw out all the trash and organize items he keeps. The chair where a lot of this stuff is kept, which Joe refers to as Dead Red (a broken recliner), is soon to be gone he says. So this coming year we will have to find a new home for the paperwork bags and files I put there, and he will have to find a new place for the stuff that he stores in it. The chair is sad, with the back off the seat, and filled with clutter. I am looking forward to seeing how getting the chair out of the room we work in, and seeing whatever he might replace it with, changes the space in here. Exciting days ahead.

I am writing this at Joe’s on Wednesday. He is back from his appointment (Wednesday’s post explains where he was and why I wrote two posts this week) and we edited this blog together. We are going to try to schedule this to publish at 1pm on Thursday, July 20th. We will check to see if that WordPress feature works and publish it by hand if it doesn’t. If you see this shortly after 1:00 on Thursday afternoon, you will know that it worked. Yay technology, when it works!

Next week Joe will be back for both blog entries. Until then, have a great weekend, take care, and happy reading.